Headlines 22 March 2012

ZR Comment:  We are hearing a lot of chatter regarding an appearance by President Michael Sata before ZACOBO (A Zambian diaspora community in Botswana), in which some controversial / much discussed / possibly misunderstood / embarrassing comments were made.  According to one source emailing with us, the ZACOBO chairman gave a rather hostile opening speech, blaming the PF and UPND for blocking the passage of constitutional reforms during the last administration.  A number of audience members also asked somewhat hostile questions toward the president on issues of dual nationality, and Sata took the bait:  “All of you who are here with fake questions am very disappointed with you and embarrassed, are you not even ashamed of yourselves? You ran away from Zambia and thought we couldn’t find you and now today we have caught you. You are refugees in Botswana being exploited by the Botswana Govt. You left Zambia to come and work here for an extra K1?”  So now we think there will be some serious debate on the issue of brain drain in Zambia in response to Sata’s Botswana speech.

Zambia’s international image limping, says Sata

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says Zambia’s image abroad is still limping. Speaking yesterday after he swore in three diplomatic appointees and a deputy minister at State House, President Sata directed them to help rebuild the country’s image. President Sata swore in Mpika Central PF member of parliament Mwansa Kapeya as deputy minister for Labour, Information and Broadcasting and Paul Lumbi as High Commissioner to Nigeria.

Others were Cynthia Jangulo and Grace Kabwe as Ambassadors to Brazil and Belgium, respectively. “You ladies and gentlemen who are going in the foreign service, our image is still limping. Go there and try and boost the image of Zambia because the image of Zambia, even in Botswana, apart from the more than 2,000 Zambians, people don’t know much about Zambia,” President Sata said.

Exclusively written for Zambia Reports

Veep explains state house renovations

VICE-President Guy Scott has told Parliament that the Government followed correct tender procedures to award contracts to companies to undertake rehabilitation works at State House.

Dr Scott said there was a direct bidding in compliance with the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) Act.

The vice-president said the rehabilitation of Nkwazi Presidential House was awarded to Apollo Enterprises Limited at a cost of about K642 million, while the improvement of water supply at the same house was awarded to Afe Limited at a cost of K56 million.

REACO Enterprises was servicing air conditioners at Nkwazi House and administration building for K127 million. The replacement of two air conditioners in the dining room at Nkwazi House was done by Morthy Electrical at a cost of K70 million.

Dr Scott told the House that the repair of the swimming pool at the administration building and at Nkwazi House was awarded to Omali Swimming Pools at about K126 million.

He said this in response to a point of order raised by Monze Central Member of Parliament (MP) Jack Mwimbu (UPND) on March 13, 2012 regarding rehabilitation at State House.

Source: Times of Zambia

Battered MMD may not convene to choose leader

The opposition Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) convention to choose a new president is in doubt following the party’s failure to raise the K3 billion required.

Party Deputy National Secretary Chembe Nyangu said the party is not likely to hold the convention any time soon because of unavailability of resources.

Nyangu is part of a committee elected to raise the budgeted money along with party national secretary Major Richard Kachingwe, spokesperson Dora Siliya, Suresh Desai and veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga.

Mr Nyangu says the committee will work hard to ensure that resources are found but could however not promise when the convention will be held.

Source: Lusaka Times

Sata refuses to ‘wine and dine’

PRESIDENT Michael Sata refused to ‘wine and dine’ during his stay in Botswana, saying he could not do so when many people world over are hungry and thirsty.

According to Botswana media, President Sata ordered some government officials serving him tea during one of his meetings ‘to give even those who were waiting’.

‘President Sata apparently refused to wine and dine during his stay saying he cannot do that when many people are hungry and thirsty here in Botswana and world over and in the process frustrating protocol as her ordered Botswana government officials who were serving him tea during one of his meetings to give even those who were waiting,” sources said.

‘As you may be aware, President Sata was in Gaborone for the past two days. He officially opened a school and also donated US $10,000, a thing which attracted criticism from some Zambians here considering the levels of poverty in Zambia and that public schools are actually facing cash flow problems,” said a source.

Source: The Post Newspaper

‘ECZ chief should chair Referendum’

THE Oasis Forum has demanded that the Government should appoint the head of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and two commissioners to spearhead the Referendum Commission.

The Forum says a Referendum Commission should immediately be constituted to conduct and supervise the holding of a referendum in the Constitution-making process.

Grillo said at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, the Oasis Forum was concerned that to-date, no person had been appointed to fill the positions of the three-member commission, as provided for in Section 4 of the Referendum Act.

The Oasis Forum recommended that the current head of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and two others be appointed to act as the Referendum Commission chairperson and in-turn appoint or employ the rest to the commission structure as referendum officers.

Source: Times of Zambia

Zukas accuses Rupiah of dishonesty

RUPIAH Banda is being dishonest by opting to slip out of the country instead of making himself clear on various allegations leveled against him, says veteran politician Simon Zukas.

“We are discovering that a lot of corruption happened when he was in charge but whether former president Banda did it, like Frederick Chiluba looted the country, we don’t know and whether his family and close friends took advantage of his presidency to engage in looting, we don’t know. So, Banda is being disingenuous by preferring to take up lectureship to Boston University before answering these questions,” Zukas said.

“We should not just let him go like that, as if he is a free man representing Zambia. So how do we deal with these questions surrounding his tenure? In my view, there are only two options: to consider lifting his immunity to pave way for thorough investigations or to allow him open up and say this is my position on this matter, for example, RP Capital and Zamtel saga, and related allegations.

Source: The Post Newspaper

Chikwanda describes advocates of windfall tax as lunatics

FINANCE minister Alexander Chikwanda has described as “lunatics” those advocating for the reintroduction of the 25 per cent windfall tax on base metals.

And Chikwanda says people are becoming increasingly vocal because they haven’t seen any meaningful change since the PF ascended to power.

Speaking when visiting World Bank managing director Sri Mulyani paid a courtesy call on him yesterday, Chikwanda said people think the mining sector alone could solve the country’s budget financing challenges.

“There is a misconception by external people who feel that we can get more money from the mines. Even internally, they have been many lunatics who think we should involve windfall tax…but the production costs in the mines are very high,” Chikwanda said.

Source: The Post Newspaper

World bank MD tips Zambia on economic development

Visiting World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati has observed that for Zambia to develop its economy, policy implementation should be a core factor.

Indrawati says the World Bank will always remain supportive to the Zambian government’s efforts in policy implementation.

She has also called on the need to rejuvenate the economy in the wake of the new PF government that was ushered into office last September.

Source: Qfm Radio

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